07/28/2017, 19.05
PAKISTAN
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Supreme Court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. For minorities, justice has won

by Kamran Chaudhry

The prime minister, his favourite daughter and other family members are involved in the Panama Papers affair through suspicions funds in offshore companies used to buy luxury apartments in London. Sikh leader voices doubts. For him, "it seems that plots to remove elected premiers are again successful.”

Lahore (AsiaNews) – Pakistan's Supreme Court today disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office and ordered a corruption probe against him and his family. After the unanimous verdict was read, Sharif resigned.

His brother, Shehbaz (Punjab's chief minister), favourite daughter and heir apparent Maryam, and other family members are involved in connection with the Panama Papers' scandal through suspicious funds in offshore companies that bought luxury flats in London.

Speaking to AsiaNews, various leaders of religious minorities say that the prime minister’s disqualification from political life "is a victory of justice."

“Of course, this is a sad day for Pakistan,” said Mgr Joseph Arshad, bishop of Faisalabad. “I call on both politicians and citizens to stay calm. We trust our army to control any unrest in the country. Justice should prevail, and let the law take its course.”

“Unfortunately, most of the attacks against churches occurred during his (Sharif’s) tenure but he did try to take good steps in favour of religious minorities”.

Had he not been removed from office, Sharif would have been the first political leader to complete a legislature in Pakistan. Now social media are full of comments, mostly favourable to his departure.

“Gone Nawaz gone! Congrats to all who followed with passion and patriotism. Unanimous Disqualification,” tweeted Christian Brigadier (R) Samson Simon Sharaf.

Rev Faraz Malak, president of Minorities Rights Watch, also congratulated the Supreme Court. “Now we are getting confident that change is coming,” he said. “We could not see justice prevail in this situation. Pakistanis should celebrate. The whole nation will get their equal rights and see good results”.

Rojar Randhawa, operations manager at Caritas Pakistan in Lahore, posted a list of 17 prime ministers who were disqualified or executed during the country’s history. “The disqualification of Nawaz Sharif is no big deal. It would have been a big news had he not been disqualified. This always happens to the premiers of the country”, he posted on Facebook.

"For his part, Sardar Kalyan Singh Kalyan, secretary general of the Guru Nanak Ji Mission, a Sikh organisation, has mixed feelings.

“Our country will celebrate its 70th anniversary next month (14 August) and it seems that plots to remove elected premiers are again successful. But we hope the court ruling helps in decreasing corruption and heralding a better scenario”, he said.

“We receive news that Lahore Metrobus service has suspended its operation. We don’t want damages to minority places of worship. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has close links with terror groups. The party was on a dangerous path and we lost many temples and churches during its tenure”.

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